Mark Action is not an artist, but an undercover defector of the art world, undermining its monopoly on creativity since 1984. He was formally trained as an Art Theoretician before escaping a sterile academia to become a clandestine charismatic cult leader. He aims to sabotage and expose the art world’s degeneration of the Holy Spirit and liberate creativity by using inspiration to empower us all to get Real.
In 2006, Mark Action infiltrated the administration of a major art institution. He developed nepotistic relations with staff members who surreptitiously supported him sabotaging a significant annual art gala, which perpetuates the manufacturing of art stars and their decorous artifice to an expectant audience. His plan was to enter a work into this group show that would disrupt the audience’s awareness of other art around it by drawing more attention to itself or by creating an annoyance that distracts the audience’s ability to focus on other art. The main idea was to ride a bicycle on stationary rollers in the gallery. This simple act was absurd enough to subvert the audience’s expectations for the gala, and the profuse aroma of sweat, coupled with the sound of gears changing, chains spinning, and wheel whizzing would make for an obnoxious spectacle that was sure to garner a perplexed crowd into an impenetrable hoard. In preparing for the event, this simple idea began taking on more dimension as Mark Action created an over the top interactive exhibition spoofing on the legacy of Lance Armstrong.
In the early 2000’s, after conquering testicular cancer, Lance Armstrong began his relentless pursuit to capture the world record of seven consecutive Tour de France victories, a bicycle race famed as history’s most difficult athletic challenge. It was the first time an American began dominating this 100-year-old French bicycle race, and the effect Armstrong had on the post-9/11 American psyche was heroic. Not only was he a cancer survivor, a Texan, and a personal friend of president George W. Bush, but he became a superhero demigod fighting to liberate the champion within us all. On any given weekend, one could find a myriad of suburban cycling devotees sporting one of Armstrong’s different spandex team jerseys and a yellow rubber Livestrong bracelet. Few were even lucky enough to be able to afford his signature Trek Madone SL bicycle.
These weekend warriors worshiped Armstrong’s celebrity, and pedaled reverently to transcend their mortal limitations and deliver their souls into extra-ordinary states of being. They appeared as blissful young children, playing in costume, zooming about fantasizing themselves to be Superman. And indeed, the euphoria these warriors could conjure is enough to elevate their adrenaline and carry them beyond the pain of their ordinary cycling abilities, into the sublime.
In homage to the ascension of Armstrong and the power of imagination to transport one to greater realities, Mark Action created the Tour de Fantasy. The Tour de Fantasy included an altar encasing relics from Armstrong’s cycling career and Trek-sponsored scratch and win tickets for the thrilling chance to possess a piece of Armstrong’s legacy.
In front of the altar, Mark Action constructed a sacred virtual portal in which he rode his bicycle, climbing 10,000 feet up Alp d’Huez with Armstrong and the world’s greatest cyclists in the Tour de France. The crowd went wild, cheering with excitement, ringing bells, donning flags, and running along side individual riders for a brief communion with glory. As gallery visitors gravitated toward the Tour de Fantasy’s hypnotic audio-visual cycling extravaganza, Mark Action spiritedly rode into ascension and touched the true source of his own inner power, becoming for an eternal moment, the Godhead.